Italian puppeteer. Filippo Teoli, who practised the crafts of goldsmithing and carving, created the Cassandrino puppet, which he put on stage at the Teatro Fiano (Via del Corso, Rome) from the beginning of the 19th century until his death.
A gifted actor (a “true talent”, according to Stendhal) and good observer of the social customs of his day, Teoli ridiculed them with grace but also with a realism that piqued Roman society. His allusions to powerful figures in Rome’s papal circles earned him several stays in prison, but attracted popular sympathy and the friendship of intellectuals. Poet, playwright and scholar Vincenzo Monti (1754-1828), poet, philosopher, essayist Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822), opera composers Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), among others, followed his performanes. Italian dramatist of French origin, Giovanni Giraud (1776-1834) wrote a comedy for him, Il viaggio sull’asino di Cassadro sposo (The Voyage on Married Cassandro’s Ass); the Roman poet Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791-1863) counted among his admirers.
Filippo Teoli also inserted Pulcinella and Arlecchino into his comedies, and toward the end of his career, he oriented his productions toward the spectacular and the fantastic, abandoning satire. The Teatro Fiano closed upon his death.
- McCormick, John, with Alfonso Cipolla and Alessandro Napoli. The Italian Puppet Theater – A History. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Co., 2010.